Yellows 0 Gillingham 1

I can’t remember the game, but earlier this season a player went down under a heavy challenge and there was a moment of panic. Despite the beckoning of Ryan Clarke and the increasingly apoplectic screams of the fans, the doctor and his team walked steadily to towards the stricken player.

Why would a medical professional only walk to the aid of an apparently badly injured player when everyone else is emphasising the urgency of the situation?

I thought about it. The doctor knows that in most cases the player is not about to die. They know too, that if he is, there’s not a lot he can do about it. If he ran, he could fall or raise his heart rate so that he was less able to make calm medical decisions. By running, he wouldn’t improve the likelihood making an effective medical intervention, but would increase the likelihood of failing to do so.

Football is prone to over-reaction, whether its players about to die from a clash of heads or rolling around on the ground from a tap on the ankle. We sack managers after 2 or 3 bad results and scream like we’ve seen a drowning child at the sight of a corner being taken outside the ark.

This isn’t cynicism or idiocy, everyone knows that stability is the most important thing in football, Alex Ferguson proves that. We even applaud strikers who can execute a ‘cool finish’. The over reaction is a learnt behaviour, and a deep seated cultural one at that.

If you’re brought up in a culture of over-reaction then it seems logical that everything you do will reflect that. And this is what seems to be going on at the moment with us.

There wasn’t much wrong with the approach earlier in the season. Our form needed some tweaks, but didn’t warrant a complete restructuring of the team.

I get the signing of Wotton, he’s a bit of bite and experience in midfield, although I’m not sure he’s better than Danny ‘gets too involved in the game’ Bulman. Rather than a straight replacement for Josh Payne, who looks a good player if a bit soft-footed, Wotton has bumped Payne who, in turn, has bumped Heslop. With Clist replacing Hall, we’ve completely remodelled the midfield.

Up front, MacLean looks a decent player, but can he be squeezed in with the ‘untouchables’ of Constable and Craddock?

At the back rather than sticking with the impervious Worley and Wright, we’ve introduced Futcher who is no better than either, or Mark Creighton.

Chris Wilder is feeling the pressure, nobody needs to remind him of the situation we’re in. But the increasingly radical calls for his head mean he’s trying to find increasingly radical solution to our problems. In fact, we just needs some subtle tweaks.

Equally, now is not the time to make radical decisions about Chris Wilder. People are talking about relegation, but there’s a long way to go and the difference between now and 2006 is that we have all the assets we need are at the club and the time to get it right.

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Oxblogger is a blog about Oxford United.

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